Sunday, January 22, 2012

JFK 20K Race Round-Up

Laura, who joined Stef and me for the Jingle All the Way 8K last month, sent an e-mail about running the JFK 20K.  The race is organized annually by the DC Road Runners and cost all of $5.  Since I’m running the GW Birthday Marathon (relay) next month, which is also organized by DCRR, I thought that it would be a cool idea to run a race with DCRR before I make my decision about joining the group.  And, if you've been following this long, you know that I can't think of a better way to spend my Saturday mornings than to wake up early and run long distances with awesome people.

The race was originally scheduled for January 14th but was rescheduled for the 21st.  (The 14th turned out to be a beautiful day, and I had a very solid 9-mile run.)  In the days leading up to the race, it started to look like it might be canceled due to weather.  On Friday, I was obsessive about checking the weather - hoping to see that 100% chance of ice and rain had changed.    

When I woke up yesterday, I checked once more and things did not look promising.

100% chance of rain/sleet/snow during prime race time...
We weren't sure if the race organizers would cancel, but the group running decided to head out to the course.

And, do you know why? 

Because honey badgers don’t care about snow!

(Pause.  If for some reason you don't know what I'm referencing, march yourself over here for three of the most fantastic minutes you'll spend on the internet. I’ll wait…)

The 20K course was an out-and-back along the C&O Towpath from Caderock to Chain Bridge.  I’ve done parts of that trail starting on the DC end of the trail, and it’s always a beautiful run.  The snow only added to the trail's beauty.

I started the race with the intention of keeping a nine-minute pace for the first half, and picking up the pace after the turnaround.  I stuck to the plan for the first two miles, started to slow, and lost the pack as I fell into a 10-minute mile.

Losing the pack in a race with a small field size, to be completely honest, was dispiriting. I started to beat myself up about the speed workouts that I’ve been doing for the last few weeks.  I felt a little better near the turnaround when there were more runners (and the friendly faces of my friends) to motivate me to pick up the pace.

By Mile 8, I was ready for the race to be over.  I was cold.  My feet were wet.  I wasn’t anywhere near my goal pace.  And, my internal monologue just wouldn’t shut up about my training.  I don’t remember exactly when this happened, but I actually stopped moving and audibly told myself to quit whining and run.  (Yeah, there weren’t many people within earshot of me.)

I hit the finish line with 2:04 on the clock, which kind of bummed me out since I can apparently run a half-marathon in about that time.  Of course, race conditions weren't exactly ideal.

After the race, some of the group went to Alero for brunch.  I hadn’t met most of the people before today, but I will say that it was amazing to chat with them and hear their running stories.  Frankly, hearing about the ultramarathon experience around the table was mind-blowing.

Thinking about my performance during this 20K, I have to remember that I'm going to experience a few runs and races that aren't as awesome as others.  And, there's something to be said about the dedication (insanity?) of everyone who showed up to run in those conditions.  I, for one, look forward to the day when I can tell my grandchildren that I once ran a race in the snow (uphill both ways and without shoes).


  1. Great to read your post thanks for stopping by:) 

  2.  Likewise! Looking forward to reading more of your posts!